More than 200 free bus passes are available to Miami Dade College students at Single Stop offices located at North, Kendall and Wolfson campuses.
The passes are available to all MDC students on a first come, first serve basis. During the last week of every month, students who are part of the program or have signed up on the waiting list are notified as the passes arrive. They can be used on any Miami-Dade County Transit Authority bus route.
“A [monthly] bus pass is about $57, so close to $60 monthly, and a semester is 16 weeks, so we’re looking at $240 [in savings for students],” said Single Stop Director, Barbara Pryor.
To obtain free bus passes, students must go through a Single Stop screening. The intake process will determine whether students are eligible for financial assistance. Filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is not required but recommended.
“We understand that there are some factors or circumstances where students do not qualify for aid because they’re maybe undocumented or there are some other circumstances,” Pryor said. “So that’s why we use some personalized screener which will help us show that there’s financial need.”
In addition, students must present a valid schedule for the current term. There is no minimum amount of credits required. Other conditions for qualification are to meet with a Single Stop financial coach to develop a free financial plan and the completion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
The passes are provided by the Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works as part of their Transportation Disadvantaged Program. The number of passes offered each month varies depending on availability. Usually, more than 200 passes are distributed evenly at North, Kendall and Wolfson Campuses.
“Every month we’ve seen an increase of more students wanting to be placed on the waiting list,” Pryor said. “By the end of May, there were about 75 students on said list. We are working with Miami-Dade Transit, we’re in the process of requesting more passes for students because we definitely see the need.”
Initially, free bus passes were offered to students through the Walmart Back to Work grant, which ended late last year. Since then, Single Stop has taken responsibility of the program.
Single Stop USA partnered with Miami Dade College in 2010 to connect students with public benefits. It offers a myriad of services for students, such as free tax preparation and legal referrals.
“We in higher education see the need and the value, especially here at Miami Dade College, in helping our students to stay in school and persist to graduate,” Pryor said.